Dr. Stephen Opuni
Director of Finance of COCOBD Peter Osei Amoako, has said companies whose fertilizers were tested by Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) receives letters for quotation from the Board.
These fertilizers must be tested by CRIG for a minimum of two years; Mr Amoako, the sixth prosecution witness in the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni, the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD and two others was answering questions under cross examination by Samuel Cudjoe, counsel for Dr Opuni.
Mr Cudjoe enquired from the witness, whether when the letters were written, it would request for a specific quantities but the witness said “l have to abreast myself with that information but l believe so”.
The witness said it was not the case that after the Procurement Unit and the supplier have agreed on the price and quantities, COCOBOD would write to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for approval to sole source the fertilizer at a specific price.
He said the quantities were determined by the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD.
The Director of Finance disagreed with Mr Cudjoe that the letters to the PPA though signed by the CEO was prepared by the Procurement Unit.
The witness said the letter prepared by the unit to PPA would first be in the draft stage for the attention and approval from the CEO.
Mr Cudjoe asked the witness to identify his signature on a contract document handed over to him but the witness said he could not confirm because there were other attached documents, which were missing.
When the Counsel insisted, whether it was the signature of the witness on the document, the witness said “on the bases of what I said I am unable to confirm that this was the document I witnessed.”
It was at this stage that Mr Cudjoe sorted permission from the court to apply orally for the court for an order that the document, which the witness has claimed contained a signature, which was not his should be referred to the Police CID for a forensic examination.
He said the examination was to determine, whether the signature belongs to the witness or otherwise.
The Counsel said this was more so, when the document, a copy of which was on the court docket was given to the defence by the prosecution as part of the discovery process.
He said the seriousness of what has happen was that if indeed as the witness claim was forged, then they could not trust other documents given to the parties.
Chief State Attorney Evelyn Keelson, opposed to the oral application, saying the application was not relevant and it was founded on the wrong premise.
She said the witness has stated that he could not confirm that the document Counsel had given to him was the document he signed and that it seems that the document contained some other attachments.
The court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, the Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting as an additional High Court Judge with cooperation and understanding from both parties, handed over the court’s copy of the document at the center of the disagreement to the defence to continue with its cross examination.
When the witness was asked now, whether the signature on the document was his, he answered in the affirmative.
At this stage the defence tendered the contract document between COCOBOD and Kumark Limited and witnessed by Mr Amoako as evidence and was admitted.
The witness disagree with the Counsel that CRIG certificates were supposed to be issued for a year.
Mr Amoako said he witnessed a contract for the supply of 200,000 liters of Greenok organic fertilizers and he assumed that CRIG certificate was attached.
Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.
They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.
The trial has been adjourned to Nov. 27, 2020 for further cross-examination of the sixth Prosecution Witness.
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